National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce




Republican River Flood of 1935


A Closer Look at


Bartley, Nebraska


Back To Map Personal Stories Newspapers Accounts Photos Weather Data


Amount of Rain Measured -

Time Flood Impacted Saint Francis -

River Crest at Saint Francis -

River Width at Saint Francis -



 Personal Stories from Bartley

Excerpt from Bluff-to-Bluff, Too!

Dorothy Ventling Unger recalled farmsteads floated down the Republican…Dorothy’s father, Loyd Ventling, came to the house and said he just heard the Republican River was coming up and was going to be out of its banks.  Dorothy recalled: “He asked if any of us would like to go down to the river and see it.  We all said “yes” so my father hitched a team of horses to the wagon and we all got in and went down to the river.  It was bank full.  We put stakes where it was starting to come out and then moved them back as the water got higher and came out farther.  Soon we noticed our neighbors, the Paul Harris’ who lived near the river just east of us and south of the Sughroe sandpits were taking things out of their cellar.  We went over to help and the water was up high enough to run in their cellar then.

“My father told them they had better move their cattle farther north so the river wouldn’t get them.  Meanwhile, the river had broken out west of our place up by what was the Kurtz place on the river south of the Levi Burton place.  There was another place with a house just south of the tracks.  The people that lived there were gone that day which was a good thing as the house washed away too.  The Kurtz family moved out quickly when the river got up around their house. 

“The water was so high it washed all the houses, barns and buildings south of the railroad tracks away.  It also washed out the highway and railroad along our place and east and west of us.  I stood on the henhouse and took pictures of cattle, houses, and people being washed away.  The houses would roll over and over until they fell apart.  Trees also washed always, some with people in them. 

“After the flood went down lots of things were found belonging to other people.  Some new quilts were found hanging on our fence.  They were claimed by some people in Indianola.  A new tractor, belonging to Ike Kurtz, was found in a field south of the tracks.”


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 Newspaper Articles from Bartley

Bartley Inter-Ocean, Bartley, Nebraska, Thursday, June 6, 1935

Flood Death Total Mounts; Relief to Homeless Hundreds

State and national relief agencies were making preparation today to aid the many families made homeless by the greatest flood in the valley’s history which struck last Friday, devastating the valley and taking 103 lives…Indications pointed that the heaviest toll is in the Oxford vicinity where 10 bodies have been recovered and 21 are still missing.  The property damage is estimated at 50 million dollars…The river was too high Saturday to send out searching parties but many were out in the territory east of town Sunday and recovered three bodies, those of Elizabeth Shook, Mrs. Charles Miller, and her 4-year-old girl.  There were reports of pilfering and local officials were making an appeal that nothing be taken home.  Volunteer groups began Sunday to bury the many dead hogs, cattle and horses scattered along the river bottom.  The Burlington railroad will sustain a heavy loss, several miles of track being washed out east and west of Bartley.  Every available man was being hired to get the track in shape….The flood brought down quite a few rattlesnakes from the west, several having been killed in trash along the river bottom…Indications are that it will be at least a week to ten days before this section will see a passenger train again…It would be almost impossible to picture the flood with words.  You have to view with your own eyes to really appreciate the immensity of the damage to farmland and homes…The high water reached Bartley at about five o’clock in the afternoon, and local residents had several hours of daylight to view the scene of destruction.  No residences in the town proper were in the path of the flood…The Smith land on the bottom looks like a desert being covered with sand knolls and debris.  The same description applies to practically all the bottom land in the path of the torrent…Emergency Notice…The American Red Cross is prepared to take care of all emergency needs resulting from the flooding disaster.

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 Photos from the Area


The ferry used at Bartley.  This was the way farmers on the south side of the river reached Bartley. 

Railroad tracks at Bartley following the flood.


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 Cooperative Weather Data

 Not Available for Bartley

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